- Posted December 2, 2013 by
Washington, District of Columbia
This iReport is part of an assignment:
CNN Fit Nation: 2014 Triathlon Challenge
Courage to Succeed
Twelve 12 years ago, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, largely experienced no true difficulties from the disease until June 2010. Two months after returning from a civilian deployment to Iraq, I woke up and couldn’t walk.
I spent two months in the National Rehabilitation Hospital learning to walk and another six months fully recovering. After receiving clearance from my medial team, I joined a women’s running group. I run neither far nor fast, but somehow eventually became its lead ambassador
In my role as an ambassador, I have pretty much put my ambitions and competitive nature on the back burner to support the running journeys of other ladies.
I would like to say that my decision to be the ultimate cheerleader is purely altruistic, but it’s rooted primarily in fear.
I can myself that all racers are runners but not all runners are racers until I’m blue in the face as a means to justify not entering or training for races with the group. But I want to be out there and truly experience competition again. It’s not about winning. I was an athlete through high school and part of college. I know It’s about pushing myself beyond the limits I’ve constructed. I feel like a fraud for constantly encouraging other women when I’m so scared to fail that I lack the courage to even try to succeed.
When I consider new physical and mental goals, there a little voice that keeps telling me, you’re too old, you’re too big, you’re too out of shape, or the worst, you can’t do that because you have MS. I don't want an MS diagnosis to constrain my choices more than necessary or stop me from attempting something that might bring me great happiness.
I don’t want to be the woman with MS who completes a triathlon. I want to be the triathlete who happens to live with MS.
I’ve spent so much time taking care of others. Now, it’s time to be selfish, focus on myself, and accomplish something amazing!